When it comes to any kind of eating plan, whether your goal is to have weight loss or weight gain, it comes down to basic science, calories in vs. calories out. If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to consume less than you expend and vice versa for weight gains, you want to eat more. If it comes down to caloreis, then youre probably wondering why calorie counting doesn’t cut it by our standards? That’s because there is one major flaw, it doesnt take into account the 3 different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and how much you’re consuming of each.
Protein: essential for protein turnover in our body. Builds and repairs tissue and is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
Fats: Energy source, aid in hormone production and the formation of cell membranes. They also provide our body with the esstienal fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 which our body cannot produce on its own. Fats help joint health, as well as cardiovascular health.
Carbohydrates: The bodies preferred source of energy during workouts. They help restore glycogen levels after high intensity workouts and aid in shutting off your CNS response so you can start to recover post workout. Fiber is a carbohydrate and is important for digestion, can help decrease cholesterol levels and may help lower heart disease. Fiber also boosts our overall gut health.
Depending on what your goals are will make a difference on what your specific macronutrients should be. Training age and diet history, activity level, type of activity you’re involved in, specific performance goals and physique goals all can be met more efficiently by hitting the right macronutrients. Each macronutrient has specific roles in our body and we opperate the most effectively when our body is getting the right ratios. Someone that is only focused on calories may only see progress to a certain extent because they could be filling their diet with fats and carbs and eating minimal protein. Or eating high fat, low carb, low protein. There are so many scenarios that can come into play when you are not paying attention to the specific macros and only focusing on calories. By tracking your macros, you can ensure youre eating a diet that is tailored specifically for your needs and goals.
Let’s take a look at 4 very different scenarios to show exactly what I mean when I say that tracking macros focuses on each individuals needs unlike counting calories would.
Scenario one: A crossfit athlete trying to improve performance.
Scenario two: A weightlifter who is trying to gain lean muscle mass.
Scenario three: A construction worker who has a physically demanding job but does not work out, feels like he lacks muscle mass to perform job optimally.
Scenario four: A middle aged women who is mainly sedentary with a significant amount of bodyfat to lose.
All of these people would benefit from tracking macros to aid in their specific needs and demands. If they only have a calorie goal they are aiming for, they are more than likely not eating the right foods to help them in their specific needs. The crossfit athlete would benefit from a diet higher in carbohydrates because the demand of their workouts, where a weightlifter does not have those same demands. A middle aged women who is pretty sedentary with bodyfat to lose would benefit from tracking macros to ensure that she’s not filling up on all of one macro and not the others. Since she is sedentary, she doesnt have the same energy demands as the construction worker or crossfit athlete so her carbohydrate intake wouldn’t need to be as high. Typically what we see is if someone is overeating one of the macronutrients, they’re undereating in the other macro deparments. All of these scenarios would benefit from tracking protein intake to ensure they’re consuming enough to support the breakdown of tissues during workouts, to help build or at least maintain lean muscle mass and to promote positive body composition changes.
Counting calories can get you a good jumpstart on your weightloss plan but eventually you’ll plateau, performance will likely suffer, and it’ll leave you in a dead end because it doesnt address nutritional periodization and where to go after eating in a calorie deficit. We are happy to help you get out of your diet rut and create a nutrition plan specific for you that will optimize your health and progress and improve how you feel from day to day. If you have any additonal questions or want to chat, please dont hesitate to reach out to us by clicking the ‘contact us’ tab at the top of this page! I hope you guys had a wonderful weeekend and have a kickass week! Happy Monday!